Google crashes Detroit self-driving car party, wants to join Detroit automakers?

Google's self-driving team holiday photo posted on Google's Self-Driving Car Project's Google+ site." width="1" height="1" /> Google's self-driving team holiday photo posted on Google's Self-Driving Car Project's Google+ site.
Google’s self-driving team holiday photo posted on Google’s Self-Driving Car Project’s Google+ site

Chris Urmson director of self-driving cars at Google visited Detroit to offer help to the auto industry and people who just want to “get from one place to another” at a conference sponsored by Automotive News.

Google would like to partner with automakers to make  self-driving cars and is talking with some car manufacturers. Google is also open to licensing technology to suppliers of self driving systems.

“At some point, we’re going to be looking to find partners to build complete vehicles, and bring the technology to market,” Urmson said.

The small LSV test cars that are self-driving around Silicon Valley were built in Michigan by Roush. Part suppliers included Bosch for power electronics/radar, ZF Lenksysteme forsteering gear; LG Electronics for batteries, Continental and Roush.

Google doesn’t seem to worried that such self-driving technology is not approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA). Google does not believe it needs permission from federal safety officials to move ahead with deploying self-driving cars on many American roads. In fact it is operanting under the assumption that there is no regulatory block that prohibits self-driving cars.

Meanwhile when the New York times contacted a spokesman for the N.H.T.S.A., Gordon Trowbridge, he said “just like any car built for use on U.S. roads, any autonomous vehicle would need to meet applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, which falls under NHSTA’s jurisdiction.”

Major obstacles to self-driving cars are snow, that wreck havoc on lidar and camera. Google expects that the public will be in driverless cars in two to five years.

We also find it interesting that the Google test cars can only go up to 25 mph and reporter continue to call them cars, when they are LSV Low-Speed-Vehicles that fit into the realm of golf carts and do not have the strict safety rules of light weight cars and trucks.

Chris Urmson leads Google’s self-driving car program and is an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Google’s self-driving vehicles have driven over 400,000 miles on California roads.